Is there a difference between copywriting and content marketing? After all, copy is just the textual material used to create content aimed at promoting and selling your products and services, right? While many people — even marketers — use the terms interchangeably, copywriting and content marketing are not the same thing.
What’s the difference and how do they work together to drive the results that matter?
To distinguish the difference, let’s take a look at how each term is defined. Content marketing is described as “a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services,” while copywriting, according to Copyblogger, is “the art and science of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action.”
Content marketing involves creating and sharing content aimed at attracting and converting prospects into customers and customers into repeat buyers. Consequently, solid copywriting is one of the most essential elements of any successful content marketing effort.
When done well, content marketing leverages effective copywriting to provide the information that audiences are seeking, ultimately encouraging them to take action and progress through the sales funnel. Let’s dig a little deeper into each concept.
What is Copywriting in Marketing?
Copywriting seeks to accomplish numerous goals, including communicating a brand’s purpose, its core values and its message to intended audiences in a way that resonates, builds trust, engages and balances promotion with valuable content. Written copy can include the words found on billboards and in brochures, social media updates, blog posts, website landing pages, email newsletters, video scripts, white papers and any communication that is aimed at marketing a product or service.
Copywriting is direct. Good copy is generally succinct, enticing and prompts audiences to take specific actions, whether that’s to “sign up,” “buy now” or “keep reading.” And as persuasive writing, it does not take long for audiences to decide whether to take action, so crafting a solid headline and call to action is vital to your content’s success.
When headlines are dull and uninspiring, they don’t give people any reason to keep reading the rest of your message. If you try to get too clever, you can struggle to effectively communicate how the content will benefit readers. Strong copywriting skills help to capture audience attention on social media, in email campaigns and on search engine results pages. Beyond grabbing attention, headlines should communicate what the content is about and entice audiences to click.
Call to Action
A call to action (CTA), on the other hand, is the definite statement that encourages readers to, well, take action. From increased subscriptions to boosted sales, it’s important to determine the goal you’re trying to achieve before crafting a CTA. Once you know what your goal is, you can think about how to best execute that strategy with a high-quality CTA.
The best call-to-action constructions are short and use strong verbs that speak directly to the desired user outcome: Call now. Sign up today. Find out more. You can have the most beautiful graphics and an incredible strategy for driving traffic in place, but if the copy on that page doesn’t tell visitors why they should take action, it’s useless. Remember to be clear about your offer. No one will take action if they don’t understand what they’re receiving in return. Thus, it’s important to highlight the immediate benefits of your offer and encourage immediate action.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing aims to attract both new and return customers by way of informative, credible, entertaining and valuable content with a well-crafted CTA. So, while content marketing collateral often includes written copy, copywriting and content marketing are not the same thing.
Content marketing is a process that uses various platforms to create, publish and promote content for target audiences. From blog posts and case studies to white papers, podcasts and landing pages, content marketing aims to pull prospect audiences toward your brand by underscoring thought leadership.
Much like the product or service you’re trying to promote and sell with a piece of content, if that content doesn’t offer anything valuable, audiences won’t engage with and share it. Prospects are skeptical enough as it is, so if they don’t trust you, they’re not likely to spend any money with you.
How do you build trust? By being consistent, reliable, transparent and generous with your content offerings. You need to show up in front of target audiences, keep showing up, tell them the truth about your brand, product or service, and do what you say you’re going to do. If you regularly give out a significant amount of valuable content, you build that reputation as a trusted resource.
In addition to building trust, your content should be enjoyable. Nobody finds pleasure in reading regurgitated marketing speak or advertising copy. If your content looks like an ad or feels too sales-y, it will be overlooked or disregarded completely.
In the end, our world is becoming increasingly digitized, and this digital shift is decreasing the average attention span of humans. As a result, companies are not receiving the attention they so desperately crave online. But that’s where effective copywriting and content marketing can step in to help.
If written copy is what you create, content marketing is how you use that content to meet your business goals. Because content marketing is a process, it requires a plan to be executed successfully. Brainstorm topics relevant to your organization and industry, research keywords to ensure the content is optimized for performance, detail major events or product releases, then publish informative, relevant and nonpromotional content that supports these events, weaving your brand’s message and story throughout the content.
Credible, trustworthy, valuable and well-crafted content connects consumers to information that is relevant to their daily lives. Whether your content lives on your website, in your social media channels or somewhere else, its message must resonate with consumers and provide them with something of value.
If you still have a question about copywriting vs. content marketing or if you want to take your copywriting and content marketing efforts to the next level, get in touch!